Weekend escapes usually entails some planning – from where to go, how to get there, what food to bring and where to stay. The choice for weekend trips from Manila are usually at the popular beaches of Batangas, Zambales and Quezon. What if I tell you there’s a tranquil and secluded cove only 3–4 hours away from Manila that you just have to conveniently bring yourself and not think about the food or the place to stay? Aroma Beach Hideaway is tucked in between Morong and Bagac at underrated Bataan. Managed by Bataan Nature Adventure, they emphasize on just enjoying your time at their beautiful cove and let them handle the rest.
Aroma Beach Hideaway
I like that bus trips to Bataan are frequent and runs almost every half an hour within the day. It took me only three hours to Balanga, Bataan from Manila. There,I met up with Mike who manages Bataan Nature Adventure and Aroma Beach Hideaway. Coming along him and his assistant Oland from the market, he buys the freshest ingredients to prepare for this week’s guest – Squids, some snails, seaweed and sapsap (fish) to add to his menu.
From a beach in Bagac, Bataan, we rode a boat to the cove. I was quite amused with the lounge-chair type seats on the boat making sea travel a lot more comfortable. We passed by the familiar Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar and also the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. We also passed by another cove before we reached the cove where the Aroma Beach Hideaway was located. I marveled how clear the water was, as we made our way on the gleaming white shoreline and dense green cover of the cove.
Back to Nature
No fancy hotels here. The accommodation is camp type in a tent or at one of the many creative open cottages. Mike has clearly played around with the lounging areas and cottages here. A tree house, stilted cottage, tree nest and large family cottages. I quickly made my way on the second floor of the stilted cottage and owned one of the hammocks hanging on the upper platform. From there I enjoyed the breeze and the view of the beach cove on a higher vantage point. Having little sleep coming here, it was tempting to just rest there but there are lot of interesting spots to look around.
I got my welcome Adventure Kit, a set of toiletry kit wrapped in talisay tree leaves. There’s the Starbuko section where free flowing coffee is served and drinking water is available. There’s a little library, decorated toilets with either “hugot” walls or painted art, a cozy swing bar, a giant hammock, a wooden pier and a couple of swings by the water. Aroma Beach Hideaway is all about being out there in nature without the lavish walls.
Accommodations may be basic and camp-style but Aroma Beach Hideaway doesn’t hold out on the food. I’m quite surprised with the buffet offerings they have laid out and have to laud the presentation as well. From the snacks to lunch, it made me look forward to what they are gonna bring out from their makeshift kitchen. The food offering made this hideaway an extra treat. Not to mention the changing venue gives
The main draw for me here as well is that it doesn’t crowd you with so many people. Bataan Nature Adventure makes sure that its either your whole group or only a few set of people that will enjoy that part of the cove. The beach sand quality changes in season but the good thing here is that the beach bed is sandy and is ideal for swimming. Other boats outside try to swim at the sandy portion in the middle of the cove as they cannot approach the beach being private. I wasn’t able to snorkel and should have brought my gear but I can just imagine snorkeling on a better part of the reef here. From the wooden pier itself we could already see some lion fish and other interesting kinds I could not identify.
Walking the beach and observing the fishing life is one activity you could do here aside from bumming around. They also encourage you to conquer your fear and try three levels of cliff diving nearby. Ultimately, Aroma Beach Hideaway is a stress-free escape and ideal for budget adventure holidays . It’s up to you what you want to do, whether to laze around, swim and take photos. It’s your time in your temporary cove.
Aroma Beach Hideaway is managed by Bataan Nature Aventure. Their current 2 Days and 1 Night Package which includes buffet meals and use of facilities is Php 1,800 per person. Follow their facebook at /BataanNatureAdventure or contact 0915.441.1875 ot 0928.856.8596
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.